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Plans to convert Norwich church into homes are rejected

Local residents who were furious about plans drawn up by developers to redevelop St Peter's Methodist Church in Park Lane and replace it with 20 flats + one house.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Local residents who were furious about plans drawn up by developers to redevelop St Peter's Methodist Church in Park Lane and replace it with 20 flats + one house. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Plans to convert a Norwich church into homes have been rejected, because developers were not prepared to provide the asked for amount of affordable housing - or pay more than half a million pounds instead.

Wymondham-based The Interested Building Company wanted to convert the unused St Peter’s Methodist Church, off Park Lane, and the associated church hall and Boys’ Brigade buildings into 20 homes.

They claimed providing at least 33pc of affordable homes would not be cost-effective, but an independent assessment determined, in the current housing market, building seven affordable homes would be viable.

Alternatively the developer could offer a commuted sum of £507,000 towards homes elsewhere.

But Tomasina Winch-Furness, from The Interesting Building Company, told Norwich City Council’s planning committee today that she disputed the calculations.

They had offered either three affordable homes on site or a commuted sum of £371,800.

Because of the policy clash, officers at City Hall recommended the application be refused.

There had been 172 objections to the scheme, with neighbours also expressing concern about overlooking, flooding and traffic.

Members of the planning committee voted unanimously to refuse the application on the grounds it did not meet policy requirements over affordable housing.

Martin Schmierer, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council. said the application was not fit for purpose and said the homes would have been “dark and pokey flats”.

He said: “Refusal will bring the day closer when a proposal will come forward which will have community support.”

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